Western Bypass
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NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville -- VDOT Releases Property Acquired to Build Proposed Rt. 29 Western Bypass
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If you missed the public meeting on September 27th, please take a moment to send to VDOT your comments and concerns regarding the recently released draft Environmental Assessment (EA) of the Western Bypass. Read about the recent public meeting: 'Last Chance? Hundreds attend Western 29 Bypass forum'.

The EA reviews prior environmental studies and is supposed to cover impacts relationed to land use, noise, air, endangered species, water resources and other cumulative effects. Unfortunately, after a review of the Draft Environmental Assessment, the document clearly falls well short on several key issues and is missing important information. Specifically:


  • The alternatives are not reviewed: the assessment doesn't compare completion of the bypass with completion of alternatives that were laid out in the recommendations for the Places29 plan.
  • It analyzes an outdated design: the assessment analyzes an outdated bypass design, not the recent one submitted by the contractor. The newer design shows significant changes to the north and south ends of the bypass.
  • The land use & traffic impacts are missing: the assessment does not provide any analysis of the impact of this project on traffic flow and land use north of the bypass.
  • Health impacts are overlooked: the assessment does not include a review of recent studies on the health impacts of  highways near schools, senior centers and neighborhoods.
  • It downplays the impacts on water quality: the assessment is all but silent on the impacts that over two million square feet of new, impervious surfaces will have on the Chesapeake Bay.



Where Things Stand

Once public comments are collected and reviewed, the Federal Highway Administration will decide whether to accept the draft EA, require modifications, or require that VDOT complete a Supplemental Environmental Impact Study (SEIS). We believe that the FHWA should insist on a full SEIS, which would include a thorough review of alternatives.

Please take a moment to send to VDOT your comments and concerns. Your voice is critical in this process.

  • You can send an email using the campaign we've created (now expired), or email VDOT directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • You can also submit comments in writing to Ms. Angel Deem, Environmental Division, Virgnia Department of Transportation, 1221 E. Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23219.


VDOT will accept written comments until October 9th, 2012, but they will dismiss any comments that do not address the draft EA.



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Sketches with Jeff


Learn more about the (now-defunct) Western Bypass project and its alternatives in this series of illustrations put together by our staff.

Real Solutions to Rt. 29: Video

Nobody doubts the need to fix traffic problems on Rt. 29. But the proposed $250 million Western Bypass is not the answer. Learn more about cost-effective alternatives in this video.

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